DEAR SUN SPOTS: The Mechanic Falls Public Library will be offering a program to make Boomerang Bags at the Mechanic Falls Town Office at 108 Lewiston St. on Jan. 21 at 10 a.m. in the Council Room. Boomerang Bags is a grassroots community-driven movement that tackles plastic pollution at its source.

Volunteers will get together to make reuseable Boomerang Bags with recycled materials to provide a sustainable alternative to plastic bags.

The bags create a platform to start conversations, make friends, up-cycle materials and work toward shifting society’s throw-away mentality to a more sustainable revolution of reuse – one community, needle and thread at a time! Together we link hands globally to create a shift to a more connected and conscious society.

To register, call the Mechanic Falls Library at 207-345-9450 or email [email protected] The workshop is limited to 20 people, so call to register as soon as possible. Working sewing machines are required. Patterns and material are provided.

— Nancy, Mechanic Falls

ANSWER: I love this idea! You have totally inspired me. I’m getting out my sewing machine tonight!

DEAR SUN SPOTS: You’ve helped me in the past and I’m sure you’ll be able to help again. My question is if a person doesn’t have health insurance and has to go to the doctor or emergency room, do they have the right to refuse you? Are there funds set aside for people who can’t pay their bill such as an unexpected emergency room visit who also may have to stay overnight?

— No name, no town

ANSWER: You have the right to medical care, no matter what your financial circumstances are. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) is a federal law that requires anyone coming to a hospital emergency department to be stabilized and treated, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

Furthermore, all of Maine’s not-for-profit hospitals, such as St. Mary’s and Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, as well as Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, provide care to those who seek it, regardless of their ability to pay. This is part of their mission.

If you don’t qualify for Medicaid or Medicare, you are single, and your yearly income is between $12,000 and $48,650, you can enroll in subsidized health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care). Community Health Options, located in Lewiston, can help you decide what plan is right for you. You can reach them at 855-624-6463. Another resource is HealthMarkets Insurance at 163 Pleasant St. in Brunswick. That number is 207-450-1603.

As far as doctor visits go, you are eligible to apply for free and/or low-cost health care in the MaineHealth system if you or your primary health care provider are located in Cumberland, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Waldo or York counties; you are 19-64; and you are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare. If you’re over 65 and don’t qualify for Medicare due to not working enough quarters during your lifetime, you are eligible, too. Call 1-877-626-1684 for more information.

I know this is a lot to think about. If you need reassurance, call the hospital nearest you and ask to speak to the billing department. Contact a clinic or doctor’s office directly to discuss your options.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected]

filed under: